Is there a glimmer of hope for the lions

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Post by stevetynant on Sun 06 Nov 2016, 2:34 pm

First topic message reminder :

All of a sudden the all blacks are not now invincible, still the best side on the planet but definitely not unbeatable . A huge part in their downfall yesterday besides the fact Ireland were absolutely amazing was the problems they had in the second row, that shouldn't be a problem next year but it will be an area of strength for the lions. Surly gatland is watching what happened in Chicago and can see areas where the blacks can be targeted that up until yesterday didn't seem possible. I know it's a huge ask, little preparation time but not now mission impossible.the blue print is there,more strength in depth all of a sudden I'm starting to have hope. Can the lions do it?

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 7:43 am

I was worried about the England game in Dublin before and now I'm doubly concerned. It's very possibly the Lions selection game.
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 7:57 am

It's not likely a coach would take a year off from his day to day job and then end up only really considering 1 game as important for a selection decision Poorfour!

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Post by TJ on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 8:22 am

Aye - its not even really worth pencilling in people until after the six nations when we see who is still standing and in decent form

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Post by beshocked on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 9:01 am

Firstly congratulations Ireland. Great win. On the other hand I don't think a win for Ireland necessarily does the Lions any favours because the Lions need to pick a coherent pack with one country IMO at it's spine. Ireland's win is good because it shows that Ireland have the personnel and coaching to defeat the ABs but Schmidt is superior to Gatland and Ireland is one team.

As things stand I think you need to pick either an Irish or English bias pack. How do the Lions successfully combine both? As an England fan unsurprisingly I rate the English pack player for player better than the Irish one but it's hard to exclude players who have just beaten the best team in the world.

For the halfbacks it's a little more straightforward - currently I'd go for the Irish combo.

As for the Welsh, most are out of form/low on confidence. I don't rate Moriarity at all. Faletau is in all likelihood behind Heaslip and Billy now.


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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 9:20 am

TJ wrote:Haskell is a donkey - good at what he does but his slowness limits his usefullnes.  The lessons for me from the Welsh and Ireland games is still - no substitute for speed.

Is it time for another lions selection thread?  Not had enough rows recently ;-)

I think Haskell has to be in the squad, maybe not first choice but his experience and willingness to run through a brick wall for the team make him a strong candidate, he's learned to constrain the "richard" headedness on and off the pitch and would be good in the dressing room as an older and wiser head.

My God I've just praised Haskell, goes for a lie down......


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Post by Poorfour on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:30 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:It's not likely a coach would take a year off from his day to day job and then end up only really considering 1 game as important for a selection decision Poorfour!

Unless he'd done exactly that - and publicly stated that he had - four years ago.
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Post by GunsGerms on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:33 am

beshocked wrote:Firstly congratulations Ireland. Great win. On the other hand I don't think a win for Ireland necessarily does the Lions any favours because the Lions need to pick a coherent pack with one country IMO at it's spine. Ireland's win is good because it shows that Ireland have the personnel and coaching to defeat the ABs but Schmidt is superior to Gatland and Ireland is one team.

As things stand I think you need to pick either an Irish or English bias pack. How do the Lions successfully combine both? As an England fan unsurprisingly I rate the English pack player for player better than the Irish one but it's hard to exclude players who have just beaten the best team in the world.

For the halfbacks it's a little more straightforward - currently I'd go for the Irish combo.

As for the Welsh, most are out of form/low on confidence. I don't rate Moriarity at all. Faletau is in all likelihood behind Heaslip and Billy now.


I dont think Gatland is the right choice for this tour at all. He isn't tactially malleable enough and I dont think he is the right man to get different players of different nations playing together as a unit in a short period.

He tends to stick with tried and trusted units like how he famously picked the Ospreys team in his first season in charge of Wales an the Welsh team for the last Lions tour.

Also the Irish pack simply doesn't suit his bosh game plan. Haskel, Vunapola and Warburton will probably start in the backrow.

There will probably only be Conor Murray in the team from Ireland and to be honest I would be ok with that. a Gatland coached tour isnt that exciting for me.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:40 am

Poorfour wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:It's not likely a coach would take a year off from his day to day job and then end up only really considering 1 game as important for a selection decision Poorfour!

Unless he'd done exactly that - and publicly stated that he had - four years ago.

Very much tongue in cheek. That with as Guns says the rigidity of Gatlands tactics make me wonder why he does get any time off though.

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Post by TJ on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:44 am

We have yet to see if Gatland can see a wider picture and pick the best players to suit the tactics that give the best chance of beating NZ - until then we are second guessing him. I really hope and I wrong but I fear it will be Gatlandball again and a very conservative selection

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Post by beshocked on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:53 am

Guns germs I agree. I've made it clear many times I do not rate Gatland. I agree he's not the right man for the job.

The Ospreys team in his first season actually worked but the problem is that Gatland hasn't moved on. He's dined off his GS victories, his two notable victories over England - in 2013 and 2015 respectively and the Lions tour win.

His record vs SH sides is laughably poor as well documented. The team picked against Australia though not Gatland himself, was of course his 2nd in command and it reflects badly on Gatland because it was a team largely stuck in the past. Though it had a similar look to the glorious victory over England in 2013, it was a shadow of the side.

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Post by GunsGerms on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:54 am

TJ wrote:We have yet to see if Gatland can see a wider picture and pick the best players to suit the tactics that give the best chance of beating NZ - until then we are second guessing him.  I really hope and I wrong but I fear it will be Gatlandball again and a very conservative selection

There is no doubt it will be Warrenball. Who knows maybe it will work but it will be boring.

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Post by TJ on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:57 am

It won't work against the ABs. You cannot contain them - you have to outscore them

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Post by exile jack on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 11:01 am

If there's more than 6-7 Welshmen something dodgy has gone on.Gats has already been offered the English coaches by Eddie and he should take Townsend.On the basis of Saturday night Farrell still cuts the mustard as a Defence coach.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 11:52 am

Gatland is much more than bang and boom up the middle with heavy skulled freaks breaking through the barricades.  That's just lazy caricature.  That last game against Australia during the last Lions was exactly what Gatland was building to.  I said it was coming before the game and it came.  And it wasn't mindless tanks driving through lines.  It was perpetual motion stuff driven at a relentless speed and helped by some wicked passing, kicking, catching and offloading.  That gameplan could very well keep the ABs busy.

Gatland has a plethora of talent across the four Nations to get the job done and slimly (or less slimly) win two of the tests.  But me - I don't care Wink  My Nation is my Lions.  The Lions themselves are simply entertainment. Que sera sera

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 12:30 pm

SecretFly wrote:Gatland is much more than bang and boom up the middle with heavy skulled freaks breaking through the barricades.  That's just lazy caricature.  That last game against Australia during the last Lions was exactly what Gatland was building to.  I said it was coming before the game and it came.  And it wasn't mindless tanks driving through lines.  It was perpetual motion stuff driven at a relentless speed and helped by some wicked passing, kicking, catching and offloading.  That gameplan could very well keep the ABs busy.

Gatland has a plethora of talent across the four Nations to get the job done and slimly (or less slimly) win two of the tests.  But me - I don't care Wink  My Nation is my Lions.  The Lions themselves are simply entertainment.  Que sera sera

Exactly.  I agree with this completely.  I'm reminded of a quote by Gats, when asked why there didn't seem to be a Plan B one game: "Well, they haven't executed Plan A properly yet!".  Perhaps the Welsh boys are just not good enough to reach the heights of the rugby that Gats is trying to get them to play.  But perhaps the combined might of the 4 nations might/should include enough talent to play a game that Gatland dreams of but rarely gets to see with his Wales team.

I'll be very upset if the vast majority of the starting 15 are not from Eng/Ire/Scotland.  We (Wales) might have a few boys in there.  What if we go and do well in the 6N?  Maybe a few more.  But I do get the feeling Gats will pick mainly English and Irish boys.  Not because of the criticism last time.  I don't think he gives two hoots about that.  But because he's not as bad as a lot of people think.  He went Welsh last time as, head to head with a lot of the other players on tour, those welsh players had been better (going on 6N results and Wales winning the 6N that year).  He's not stupid.  Maybe stubborn.  But if, as it seems, Wales will not be the top 6N side next spring then he won't over-pick Welsh players.  I'm confident of that.

As an aside, and to answer the points raised about Gats being a mistake: I'd prefer a different coach this time too, but I'm not sure who else was available for the head coach role?  Eddie Jones and Schmidt seemed to distance themselves from it.  Cotter got sacked.    The other choices suddenly seem a bit sparse.


Last edited by Griff on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 12:36 pm

Why does Gatland need so much time off Griff?

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 12:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Why does Gatland need so much time off Griff?

To cook the plot, that will set in motion the plan, that will create the template, that will bring about the natural conclusion....that the entire Lions collective requires only Welsh players this time round. Wink These plans take time!Cool

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 12:44 pm

Ha. It is a serious question though. Most of us feel we know how we'll play and there's plenty of thought that players chosen will come down to key games in the 6Ns and the eventual table.

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Post by Gooseberry on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:06 pm

Griff wrote:

I'll be very upset if the vast majority of the starting 15 are not welsh.  

Its going to be a long cruel summer for you

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:08 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
Griff wrote:

I'll be very upset if the vast majority of the starting 15 are not welsh.  

Its going to be a long cruel summer for you

Sorry, I mis-wrote that bit! Thanks for pointing out! I'll go back and alter. Meant to say I'll be upset if the vast majority are Welsh/or are not non-welsh!

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:12 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Why does Gatland need so much time off Griff?

How should I know? But don't blame Gats for that. It was the Lions management that stipulated it. And it's another reason I reckon why we're limited in our choice of head coach. Which other nation would be daft enough to let their coach go off for a year?!

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:14 pm

Just asking. Personally wouldn't have had a head coach from one the international teams but there you go. Still hoping we don't just go for whoever gets the decisive win in the 6Ns while ignoring everything previous too!

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:28 pm

Griff wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
Griff wrote:

I'll be very upset if the vast majority of the starting 15 are not welsh.  

Its going to be a long cruel summer for you

Sorry, I mis-wrote that bit!  Thanks for pointing out!  I'll go back and alter.  Meant to say I'll be upset if the vast majority are Welsh/or are not non-welsh!

laughing I knew it was a typo, Griff. But I left it there without comment to be able to kick up some fun with it Wink

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:32 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Just asking. Personally wouldn't have had a head coach from one the international teams but there you go. Still hoping we don't just go for whoever gets the decisive win in the 6Ns while ignoring everything previous too!

I agree, but you can't go too far back in time. Any selection panel will have to look at recent events and form. A lot can happen from Nov 2016 to summer 2017, so just picking Heaslip (for example) because he was good on Nov 5th against NZ but didn't play too well in the 2017 6N would be a bit silly. Any selection panel has to (and should) take into account form dipping in that time period from the previous AIs. Similarly, improving in the 6N over your showing in the AIs can and should be a way to get you a spot on the plane. I've no problems with that. So if George North has a sh*t autumn, starts playing wonderfully after Christmas, scores a few hatricks in the 6N then I'd consider him for a Lions spot even though he was rubbish against Aus, Arg and SA. This sounds obvious but the number of arguments we've had on here previously about 'he shouldn't be on the plane because he played rubbish against that SH team last year in the AIs. Our player should be in because we beat Aus (nearly a year ago)'. It's daft.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:37 pm

Very true as well to a point but I've said it before that the format of the 6Ns doesn't sit brilliantly in working it this way. Obvious point from England point of view is that we're away to Ireland and Wales, and no disrespect to Scotland those 3 teams will provide the majority of competition for places. It's less likely for England to win away there than at Twickenham though not impossible and vice versa. I'm a great believer he should be idenitying what the players can bring and thinking about tactics which bring the best out of his squad. But we'll see.

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:40 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Griff wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
Griff wrote:

I'll be very upset if the vast majority of the starting 15 are not welsh.  

Its going to be a long cruel summer for you

Sorry, I mis-wrote that bit!  Thanks for pointing out!  I'll go back and alter.  Meant to say I'll be upset if the vast majority are Welsh/or are not non-welsh!

laughing I knew it was a typo, Griff.  But I left it there without comment to be able to kick up some fun with it Wink

You rascal! I was in danger of a virtual shoeing from a baying mob of rugby aficionados! Phew, managed to change it before they smelled blood Doh

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:44 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Very true as well to a point but I've said it before that the format of the 6Ns doesn't sit brilliantly in working it this way. Obvious point from England point of view is that we're away to Ireland and Wales, and no disrespect to Scotland those 3 teams will provide the majority of competition for places. It's less likely for England to win away there than at Twickenham though not impossible and vice versa. I'm a great believer he should be idenitying what the players can bring and thinking about tactics which bring the best out of his squad. But we'll see.

I do agree and get your point. But then you could also say that the AIs don't prove much either as we're all playing at home, and doesn't demonstrate our ability to go away and beat these teams, which we need to do with the Lions.

Oh, hang on.... Ireland beat NZ in Chicago. New rule written! 14 Irish in the Lions then, with Billy V at 8!

(Come to think of it, did Ireland play NZ away deliberately so they'd have that edge over the other home nations when it came to selection. Hmmm. I smell a conspiracy!).

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:44 pm

Players that might jog through Six Nations yet have a particular delight in getting fired up for SH opposition?

Like 7&1/2 says.... 6N is scant evidence of the instincts a player brings with them to different theatres of war. Look at Kearney. A forgotten man amongst fans in Ireland in terms of his reputation as a 15 at Nation level.

Yet, the World Champs will have cause to be all too aware of him as he was a raging bull against them on the last two occasions (three years apart)

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:46 pm

SecretFly wrote:Players that might jog through Six Nations yet have a particular delight in getting fired up for SH opposition?

Like 7&1/2 says.... 6N is scant evidence of the instincts a player brings with them to different theatres of war.  Look at Kearney.  A forgotten man amongst fans in Ireland in terms of his reputation as a 15 at Nation level.

Yet, the World Champs will have cause to be all too aware of him as he was a raging bull against them on the last two occasions (three years apart)

The Autumn Internationals are only friendlies, mun Whistle

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:48 pm

There was nothing friendly about either of those encounters, Griff.   Except the hugs and kisses after Laugh

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:56 pm

So they're not friendlies? Maybe someone needs to tell the Welsh team. Explains a lot Smile

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 1:59 pm

Why do I have to keep telling Welsh lads that their team are slow starters? Argentina will suffer the slings and arrows..........

Am I right? Argentina next?

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Post by Gooseberry on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:09 pm

Griff wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Players that might jog through Six Nations yet have a particular delight in getting fired up for SH opposition?

Like 7&1/2 says.... 6N is scant evidence of the instincts a player brings with them to different theatres of war.  Look at Kearney.  A forgotten man amongst fans in Ireland in terms of his reputation as a 15 at Nation level.

Yet, the World Champs will have cause to be all too aware of him as he was a raging bull against them on the last two occasions (three years apart)

The Autumn Internationals are only friendlies, mun Whistle

As were last years, they just tried to jazz it up as a world cup...but those games didnt really count

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:13 pm

"Why do I have to keep telling Welsh lads that their team are slow starters? Argentina will suffer the slings and arrows..........

Am I right? Argentina next?"

You're right in that they are next up.  You're wrong, unfortunately, in that Argentina will suffer!  After watching Arg play against Ireland in the World Cup I fear that they'll tear us a new one.  I know it was a long time ago but I still think the RC has upped Argentina's level to something that we'll struggle to contain.  And then we'll try out newbies against Japan and struggle there.  And then it's South Africa....  Does the pain never end?!

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Post by TJ on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:19 pm

Argentina will be without their euopean based players IIRC. The use the AIs to play home based players as much as possible. But yes - argentina have progressed a lot in the last couple of years and I would have them 5th in the world right now ahead of any of the home nations bar England. I wouldn't be suprised to see Argentina win all their games

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:21 pm

Wouldn't be the shock it once was but I'd be really disappointed should England lose at home to them.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:30 pm

Did anyone try bottling SH water and using that in training?

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Post by Guest on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:33 pm

TJ wrote:Argentina will be without their euopean based players IIRC.  The use the AIs to play home based players as much as possible.  But yes - argentina have progressed a lot in the last couple of years and I would have them 5th in the world right now ahead of any of the home nations bar England.  I wouldn't be suprised to see Argentina win all their games

I'd forgotten that TJ. Hopefully Wales will do better than I thought then. A full strength Argentina is up there near the top in the World in my opinion.

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Post by TJ on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:50 pm

Argentina have jumped up the rankings to 6th from 9 wales down 2 to 7 with France 8 and scotland 9! Only a fag paper between 6-9 tho

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Post by GunsGerms on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 2:55 pm

TJ wrote:Argentina have jumped up the rankings to 6th from 9  wales down 2 to 7 with France 8 and scotland 9!  Only a fag paper between 6-9 tho

Was surprised that Ireland only jumped one place with the win over NZ. Should be worth more points.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 3:05 pm

GunsGerms wrote:
TJ wrote:Argentina have jumped up the rankings to 6th from 9  wales down 2 to 7 with France 8 and scotland 9!  Only a fag paper between 6-9 tho

Was surprised that Ireland only jumped one place with the win over NZ. Should be worth more points.

Two more chances to do more jumping. Unfortunately, the chances of beating both or even either is still rather remote, despite the heroics in Chicago or maybe even because of them. This is the season - yet another one - when Ireland has to prove pedigree with a big increase in game to game consistency/intensity.

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Post by BamBam on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 3:10 pm

Have Argentina got many Europe based players in their first choice side now? Ayerza comes to mind, but struggling to think of many more

Edit - if this is correct https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina_national_rugby_union_team#Current_squad

Then I can't see any big names missing other than Ayerza

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Post by beshocked on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 3:16 pm

Well there's obviously Marcelo Bosch but then again he might not feature anymore.

Plus Juan Figallo.

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Post by BamBam on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 3:28 pm

Not sure who they play at 13, but Herrera is definitely the starting tighthead so Figallo no big loss

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Post by Cyril on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 4:21 pm

What about Imhoff at Racing?

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Post by GunsGerms on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 4:36 pm

SecretFly wrote:

Two more chances to do more jumping.  Unfortunately, the chances of beating both or even either is still rather remote, despite the heroics in Chicago or maybe even because of them.  This is the season - yet another one - when Ireland has to prove pedigree with a big increase in game to game consistency/intensity.  

Under Schmidt we have vastly improved our consistency. Our home and away win rations have increased significantly.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 4:41 pm

Yeah Guns, but I suppose what I'm looking for now is the idea that we don't selectively take the foot off the gas. Canada is next up. Seriously, any side that could put 40 on the top side in the world, away from home, should be pummelling a side like Canada. And if we should be pummelling them in theory, then that's what the team should do in practice. Hit the Canadians with the same tempo and keep the habits of speed and accuracy going - even improve on them.

We'll see though. Will the team get down and dirty with Canada instead? Will they take the foot off the gas and let Canada play ball? We're still a very inconsistent team in terms of tempo.

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Post by GunsGerms on Tue 08 Nov 2016, 4:29 pm

When is the Lions captain announced. Knowing Gatland it will be a welsh man or a Kiwi. So Warburton or Hartley.

However, Rory Best is the only current captain to have captained a country to victory over New Zealand. He also captained Ireland to victory over SA in SA. Surely he is throwing his hat into the ring now?

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 08 Nov 2016, 4:41 pm

GunsGerms wrote:When is the Lions captain announced. Knowing Gatland it will be a welsh man or a Kiwi. So Warburton or Hartley.

However, Rory Best is the only current captain to have captained a country to victory over New Zealand. He also captained Ireland to victory over SA in SA. Surely he is throwing his hat into the ring now?

Wouldn't he have to be the best in his position though like AWJ is? I must have missed the headline 'Best bests New Zealand.' #onemanteam

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 08 Nov 2016, 4:44 pm

Rory is okay for a small Nation.  But The LIONS drumroll needs a serious Name to Lead'em.  

Hartley needs a narrative to take him into the History books; he's gotta get a Lions Captaincy gig before the British press take him seriously.  He's nailed on, as they say in all good smug circles.

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